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Author Topic: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited  (Read 5044 times)

chanman

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #150 on: 30 November 2020, 21:48:36 »
I was counting on ground controlled intercept being the primary means of control, with the small radars available.  Nothing great but good enough once you're in close to spot things.

In Northern Europe in the winter, 'close enough to spot things' might be all the way down to spitting distance

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I like being weird.  Hadnt' considered Chinese hardware, though most of it is copies and modifications of Soviet stuff anyway.  I guess in a way they're the combloc version of Israel - not really part of the game, but taking and modifying/improving on what they can get.  As it is, the Air Defense Force is set up with five squadrons in each sector of the country.  I suppose I could simplify things somewhat and go full Pakistani with MiG-21s and Mirages side by side. Definitely need to take another look at Chinese stuff.

They honestly don't get interesting until the mid-late 70s when you start seeing all kinds of cross-generational hybrids (like T-54/55 derivatives with L7s).

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I've been staring at the Centurion and thinking SOMETHING has to be added; I kept looking at western tanks but nothing really gelled in my head.  The obvious answer is "go Leopard" but I don't want to do the obvious.  T-55s can be modified to take the L7, so...

What's the beef with the Centurions? Too slow? Too thinly armoured? Too heavy? Too few? Vickers offered some private venture tanks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_Main_Battle_Tank_Mark_4

What's amusing to me is that the Centurion's turret ring diameter is only about 10 cm less than a Leopard 2. Maybe 5cm less than a T-72, so if you can sweettalk someone into supplying some turrets... (https://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?topic=32677.0

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maybe one of those Chinese tanks.63s are cute little things.  I'll break up a few of the OT-64 APCs with them, actually.  I've got a few brigades that are modernizing their organization, maybe switching their troop carrier made sense to someone.  It's got a dedicated mortar carrier too, so that'll be a plus.  Skullduggery indeed, and buying from all sides is fun.  Especially when it's stolen blueprints used to build copies on the sly, which is totally how I'm explaining the M163s.

No reason not to incorporate the turret into one of your existing chassis, really.

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So now to consider tanks. Type 69s were exported, but they're too late for production.  Type 59s are basically T-54s, meanwhile the Israelis were taking T-54s and -55s and upgrading them with L7 guns as well.  The Chinese did too, but not until the 1980s...hm; what if the T-55 was the mainline tank prior to the 1970 Sho't and that's how the replacements go?  It'd be about a thousand T-55s and five hundred Centurions, if I started buying them late.

I think M47s were plentiful and cheap in the leadup - they're short ranged and kind of an interim because the definitive M48/M60 came out not long after, but if you're enterprising, you could re-engine them with diesels.

Also, your army starts to look like Iran's. Maybe you should add a handful of F-14s?  :P

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #151 on: 30 November 2020, 23:18:04 »
In Northern Europe in the winter, 'close enough to spot things' might be all the way down to spitting distance
I imagine central Europe's weather is generally better; I had half a mind to put my country bordering the Adriatic.  At least it will be somewhere with some kind of open water frontage requiring a navy.
They honestly don't get interesting until the mid-late 70s when you start seeing all kinds of cross-generational hybrids (like T-54/55 derivatives with L7s).
Yeah, the Israelis did that too after 1967, the Tiran 4Sh and 5Sh both had the L7 guns installed.
What's the beef with the Centurions? Too slow? Too thinly armoured? Too heavy? Too few? Vickers offered some private venture tanks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_Main_Battle_Tank_Mark_4
Partly it's the speed, especially it's the lack of range until 1970, the protection's okay and the 105mm gun is great.  Right now it's trying to balance the vehicles and not swing too hard one way or the other, so all western tanks with eastern IFVs, at least at the moment.  Centurions WOULD be available in large number, especially from secondary users upgrading to the Leopard 1...hrm.  The Continental/Allison drivetrain swap was done in several different countries at different times, so it can't be that difficult - it's just that most of them didn't bother until the mid-70s or later.  Just how involved is a switch like that, and how long would it take?  I'm assuming it's not like pulling an old Meteor and installing a new one.
What's amusing to me is that the Centurion's turret ring diameter is only about 10 cm less than a Leopard 2. Maybe 5cm less than a T-72, so if you can sweettalk someone into supplying some turrets... (https://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?topic=32677.0

No reason not to incorporate the turret into one of your existing chassis, really.
Actually the idea of Chinese Type 63s pootling around with the turret from an M163, that amuses me greatly.  It'd be like the UrbanMech...doubt it'd maintain its amphibious capability with the big 20mm, but it's a Vulcan gun.  Some things can be traded for that.
I think M47s were plentiful and cheap in the leadup - they're short ranged and kind of an interim because the definitive M48/M60 came out not long after, but if you're enterprising, you could re-engine them with diesels.

Also, your army starts to look like Iran's. Maybe you should add a handful of F-14s?  :P
M47s then, leading tank brigades with infantry in BMPs, and Centurions supporting armored infantry brigades with SKOT APCs.  Italy apparently took one of their M47s and put a diesel engine and an unspecified 105mm gun on it, so I'll wave a magic wand and say it's an L7 gun and that's what I'm running here.  Presto change-o panzer bueno!

Oh look, so did Iran.  FINE.  I'll use Soviet tanks and Western APCs/IFVs!  Time to do some reading on the T-62 and 64...maybe a few Centurions would be okay...
« Last Edit: 30 November 2020, 23:33:22 by ANS Kamas P81 »

AmBeth

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #152 on: 01 December 2020, 06:35:52 »
Actually the idea of Chinese Type 63s pootling around with the turret from an M163, that amuses me greatly.  It'd be like the UrbanMech...doubt it'd maintain its amphibious capability with the big 20mm, but it's a Vulcan gun.  Some things can be traded for that

If you are going to consider using the Chinese Type 63 apc they also had 122mm SPG and 130mm MRL systems based on the same chassis - Type 70 SPH/WZ302 and Type 70 MRL/WZ303 - something to think about for spares, maintenance, training etc.

Colt Ward

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #153 on: 01 December 2020, 12:11:35 »
I'll use Soviet tanks and Western APCs/IFVs!  Time to do some reading on the T-62 and 64...maybe a few Centurions would be okay...

Take advantage of one of the social facets of your culture- elitism!  One or two of your tank formations could be the elite, the equivalent of the Rangers for infantry or Marine Recon among the regular Marines.  They get the best equipment, try out the new or possible upgrades . . . and thus their equipment costs more.  The core of your armor corp is 50s tank designs with upgrades?  Well, your elite formations get 60s designs with 'modern' (70s) upgrades.  They may not be Russian or NATO cutting edge models or designs- they would consider them a generation or two behind cutting edge- but they will be top of the line for your peer powers.

The other side is, I always look at things with a thought of how you could get more by little things . . . since your mission is defensive, would your tanks, APCs, and even trucks for infantry formations be served by improving their smoke generating capabilities?  NATO & the Soviets may not have put as much emphasis on it b/c it does not have as much value to a offensive force- if your tank is popping smoke instead of relying on your artillery to place smoke screens, then it usually means you are in retreat.

Or strap some rockets on the back of a tank to give them a larger alpha strike in a engagement- especially if they are countering a mechanized infantry force.  I want to say I remember seeing a 50s or 60s Soviet tank that had like a single rack of Katyusha rails on the back, but I cannot find it.  I can find these-







The last one looks surprisingly like a BTU M1 Marksmen tank . . .

But a single rack of rockets designed to beat a area 200-500 meters ahead of the tank- again positioned for defense- where infantry and light vehicles might gather for a offensive strike might not be a bad idea.


One other interesting question . . . would your military have gained experience (and tested their training/equipment) as part of UN forces in Korea?  It would make your senior officers and NCOs veterans, possibly of WWII as well.  What other conflicts might your notional military have been draw into in the 50s & 60s as part of alliances?
Colt Ward

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glitterboy2098

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #154 on: 01 December 2020, 13:35:08 »
perhaps do like the swedes experimented with the Strv-102R, and fit 2-3 early ATGM's to the Centurion
turret?

(it used the SS.11/Robot.52 missiles, which had manual steering via wire guidance)

(i haven't found much info on that one.. it seems to have been part of the Strv-102R upgrade effort for the Strv-102's. which were Strv-81's that had been refitted in the 60's with a 105mm gun to match the Strv-101's. presumably the ATGM idea was trialed and dropped, since the -102R upgrades in the end were just electronics upgrades and the addition of some applique armor to the front to match the Strv-101's.)
« Last Edit: 01 December 2020, 13:42:51 by glitterboy2098 »

Colt Ward

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #155 on: 01 December 2020, 13:50:03 »
I imagine that was dropped b/c would you rather the gunner be piloting a missile or using the cannon?  Which is why I suggested the unguided rockets- enemy advance happens, fire off the rockets to flail the infantry and lighter vehicles that would be coming with the armor.
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chanman

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #156 on: 01 December 2020, 14:04:16 »
If you want to lean heavily into the aristocracy/regimental decentralized flavour, you could let each group of houses make some of their own procurement decisions. Shades of Battletech and modern armoured units that descend from older cavalry, but you can maintain more flavour.

Dragoons: Traditionally fight dismounted, so maybe these lean heavily on APCs and APC-based prime movers to cart around their heavy weapons
Hussars:  Go all-in on 'scream and leap' with light tanks, recce vehicles and IFVs. Maybe increased emphasis on dakka to facilitate firing on the move with the weapons on the period. (Am I suggesting squadrons of 'AA guns' with all the radars chucked pressed in use as ground AFVs? You betcha. Maybe you can make something like the SIDAM 25 using those 30mm cannon from retired Hunters)
Uhlans/Lancers: High speed, lightweight tank hunters. Think 105mm equipped wheeled vehicles or ATGM carriers. Glass cannons
Carabiners: BMP or other IFV units
Cossacks: Irregular militia types. ATVs and other 'gun truck' like equipment
Cuirassier: MBT-heavy formations

etc.

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #157 on: 01 December 2020, 16:44:52 »
If you are going to consider using the Chinese Type 63 apc they also had 122mm SPG and 130mm MRL systems based on the same chassis - Type 70 SPH/WZ302 and Type 70 MRL/WZ303 - something to think about for spares, maintenance, training etc.
I was currently using the D20 towed 152mm and 2S3 Akatsiya SPG as the core of the artillery, although I prefer the Grad trucks at the moment.  Having a tracked MLRS feels like a good idea, in all honesty, but switching to the Type 70 means I'm cutting my rockets in half.  It was also not offered for export apparently, so for now I'll stick with the Grads until I find something similar.  At least the mortar carrier is something easily available

Of course, it means I'm using the MT-LB hull only as an ATGM carrier, but at least it makes for a fair one.
Take advantage of one of the social facets of your culture- elitism!  One or two of your tank formations could be the elite, the equivalent of the Rangers for infantry or Marine Recon among the regular Marines.  They get the best equipment, try out the new or possible upgrades . . . and thus their equipment costs more.  The core of your armor corp is 50s tank designs with upgrades?  Well, your elite formations get 60s designs with 'modern' (70s) upgrades.  They may not be Russian or NATO cutting edge models or designs- they would consider them a generation or two behind cutting edge- but they will be top of the line for your peer powers.
Elitism I can get behind, and that helps me settle my tank corps.  One armored infantry and one armored brigade reorganized in a new format - each squadron is four troops of four tanks, with one tank in command, replacing the old format of three troops of five with a two-tank command element.  That lets me put Leopard 1s in the "new" format and...oh, say five of each brigade with Centurion tanks and the other three with T-55s (both production and imported T-54s upgraded).

That puts me a little heavy on soviet tanks, but I can shuffle the Type 63s to work alongside the T-55s, so I'm still mixing forces there.  Swap out Malyutka missiles on the BMPs for Milan launchers, and I think I'm actually satisfied with that.

And as for the elite, have a unit patch for said elite tank battalion.  Madcapellan gave me some help on the design, so a shoutout to him.
The other side is, I always look at things with a thought of how you could get more by little things . . . since your mission is defensive, would your tanks, APCs, and even trucks for infantry formations be served by improving their smoke generating capabilities?  NATO & the Soviets may not have put as much emphasis on it b/c it does not have as much value to a offensive force- if your tank is popping smoke instead of relying on your artillery to place smoke screens, then it usually means you are in retreat.
That's one reason I was looking at the Sho't Kals, the D models have a LOT of smoke grenades onboard.  I suppose it wouldn't be hard to add those anyway, it's not like smoke launchers are that high a technology.  The T-55s have grenades as well, and can generate their own smoke through the exhaust, though I imagine it sucks fuel down doing so.  Also, I have enough artillery (69 battalions) that applying smoke won't be too much of a problem.

Need to read the defense chapter on the Soviet army just to see how they do it.  Note to self.
Or strap some rockets on the back of a tank to give them a larger alpha strike in a engagement- especially if they are countering a mechanized infantry force.  I want to say I remember seeing a 50s or 60s Soviet tank that had like a single rack of Katyusha rails on the back, but I cannot find it.  I can find these-

But a single rack of rockets designed to beat a area 200-500 meters ahead of the tank- again positioned for defense- where infantry and light vehicles might gather for a offensive strike might not be a bad idea.
It's a thought, but I'm not fond of it - it feels like trying to make the tank do too much, and my doctrinal ideas were that the armored forces would be best used in the counterattack or even on offense.  Same goes for the ATGM idea, I'd rather let my tankers tank than be momentary artillery.
One other interesting question . . . would your military have gained experience (and tested their training/equipment) as part of UN forces in Korea?  It would make your senior officers and NCOs veterans, possibly of WWII as well.  What other conflicts might your notional military have been draw into in the 50s & 60s as part of alliances?
That's a thing, yeah, though it's been a little while since the last major war.  The occasional border skirmish happens, but "cooler heads prevail" in that case.  I can see Amartiya* troops being involved at least as observers in the Korean war, if not combatants.  I had projected a war in 1953-1955 that degenerated into a stalemate on the border with the eventual use of chemical weapons to break the situation and resolve as at least a draw, with territorial sovereignty intact.  Maybe watching the Korean war gave enough experience to survive the invasion from a neighbor state, even if we did end up with a Zone Rouge chunk of the border.

There hasn't been any major conflict since then, but with the geopolitical situation of the time I would say I don't need one to maintain a large army.  There'd also be intense interest in the Israeli wars, since they're close temporally and pretty much cover the entire range of combatants - Centurions, T-55s, BMPs, how to conduct an amphibious assault, how to defend against a dumb opponent, how to defend against a smart opponent, how to attack a desperate opponent, how nasty SAMs are...
perhaps do like the swedes experimented with the Strv-102R, and fit 2-3 early ATGM's to the Centurion
turret?

(i haven't found much info on that one.. it seems to have been part of the Strv-102R upgrade effort for the Strv-102's. which were Strv-81's that had been refitted in the 60's with a 105mm gun to match the Strv-101's. presumably the ATGM idea was trialed and dropped, since the -102R upgrades in the end were just electronics upgrades and the addition of some applique armor to the front to match the Strv-101's.)
Yeah, it's not the only one - the French put SS.11s (I think) on the AMX-13 as well, it doesn't seem to have been terribly popular and MCLOS missiles mean you're stuck doing nothing the entire travel time of the missile.  At least the gun's a fire-and-forget weapon, especially in the defense when you're fighting outnumbered.  Granted, you get a range advantage, but I think it never caught on because of the control methods.  SACLOS and beamriders make it easier, certainly...
If you want to lean heavily into the aristocracy/regimental decentralized flavour, you could let each group of houses make some of their own procurement decisions. Shades of Battletech and modern armoured units that descend from older cavalry, but you can maintain more flavour.
Last part first, I fully intend on naming forces in a similar way.  Hussars, well, they're mostly using tanks but if the AMX-10RC were available in the 1970s I'd be using it in "armored" battalions in a heartbeat.  As it is, there's AML-90s, but I think those are just a little too light a vehicle.  And maybe that diversified procurement is why I ended up with three different tanks in different amounts at different times.  A lack of a unified design, since I don't produce my own tank (yet).  The BMPs and OT-64s are made locally, so their supply is simply a case of "turn on Vehicle Factory #21 for two years" and perhaps the army is fighting with itself over standardization.  The argument of "we need unified forces" versus "we need whatever we can get."
Hussars:  Go all-in on 'scream and leap' with light tanks, recce vehicles and IFVs. Maybe increased emphasis on dakka to facilitate firing on the move with the weapons on the period. (Am I suggesting squadrons of 'AA guns' with all the radars chucked pressed in use as ground AFVs? You betcha. Maybe you can make something like the SIDAM 25 using those 30mm cannon from retired Hunters) etc.
That actually gives me an idea.  Is the turret of a BMP large enough to fit a DEFA pod?  The BMP-2 used an enlarged turret, but it was also using a bigger 30x165 cartridge and apparently had significant problems with reloading ammunition.  As far as using AA guns in ground roles, well, the M163 was popular with the troops for its firepower in that role.
*Yes I derogatorily refer to my own forces as Martians.
« Last Edit: 01 December 2020, 16:52:38 by ANS Kamas P81 »

chanman

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #158 on: 01 December 2020, 17:24:58 »
When I'm talking about the Hussars being light, I'm almost not thinking of AFVs and more like...



That's an M230 30mm chaingun off an Apache on the roof mount, yes.

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #159 on: 01 December 2020, 18:30:19 »
When I'm talking about the Hussars being light, I'm almost not thinking of AFVs and more like...

That's an M230 30mm chaingun off an Apache on the roof mount, yes.
Proper recon forces, certainly!  I originally had the thought for AML-90s as recon vehicles, but I went with the BMP in the role because it's amphibious and wouldn't be hampered by terrain.

That said, I'm still gonna have hussars and cuirassiers and such all among the tank battalions, since while they used to be horse cavalry of whatever appropriate role, and switched over to tanks over time. 

chanman

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #160 on: 01 December 2020, 18:31:21 »
Proper recon forces, certainly!  I originally had the thought for AML-90s as recon vehicles, but I went with the BMP in the role because it's amphibious and wouldn't be hampered by terrain.

That said, I'm still gonna have hussars and cuirassiers and such all among the tank battalions, since while they used to be horse cavalry of whatever appropriate role, and switched over to tanks over time.

I demand a tank bayonet.

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #161 on: 01 December 2020, 19:19:54 »
I demand a tank bayonet.
Related to that, if I ever win the lottery I'm gonna buy a spare track tread for a T-72 and have it cut up and forged into a cavalry saber.

Okay, so...the tanks break down into 2, 3, and 4 brigades for Leopards, T-55s, and Centurions in that order.  All of them come in two tank battalions with one battalion of BMP-1s.  The same 2/3/4 breakdown goes for the armored infantry; the faster T-55 and even faster Leopard battalions work alongside pairs of OT-64 APCs while the Centurions are stuck with the slower Type 63 APC.  All eighteen of those get a 2S3 Akatsiya battalion in the brigade for 18 152mm guns, while the twelve motorized infantry brigades get Insert Brand 3-ton trucks and tow their own M101s.

Taking that map of Croatia & Bosnia-Herzegovina, the country's roughly triangular so I'll set it up with two armored, two armored infantry, and five motorized brigades in the major "theater" regions, one eastern and one northern.  Each makes up one corps, north and east each bordering one smaller state and one peer state.  The rest of the force is under III Central Mechanized Corps, acting as a reserve for either direction and containing most of the mechanized forces.

guardiandashi

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #162 on: 01 December 2020, 19:26:19 »
one question I have no answer to, is there a good aa battery trailer. or rocket artillery battery trailer that could be linked to and towed by say a M113, bonus if you could rig some form of power and or control setup to allow it to operate in at least a minimum functionality mode on the move, or just "parked" but without a long deploy and setup period.

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #163 on: 01 December 2020, 19:45:52 »
When I'm talking about the Hussars being light, I'm almost not thinking of AFVs and more like...



That's an M230 30mm chaingun off an Apache on the roof mount, yes.

Bit modern for 1975, though, isn't it?  Though, in 1975, you do have the option of the VW Type 181:


-- Royal Netherlands Air Force with a .50 cal on theirs.


-- This was posted as the Mexican Army, which did manufacture the Type 181 in Nogales (that's where mine came from), with rockets!

That's probably your most likely bet for a Western European-produced vehicle without looking to Russia.  For US-produced, you'd be looking at Jeeps, obviously, but given none of the other continental European armies really did that, and went with the Type 181 instead, that seems less likely.

The VW Iltis would also be an option after 1978, of course.
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ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #164 on: 01 December 2020, 20:18:14 »
one question I have no answer to, is there a good aa battery trailer. or rocket artillery battery trailer that could be linked to and towed by say a M113, bonus if you could rig some form of power and or control setup to allow it to operate in at least a minimum functionality mode on the move, or just "parked" but without a long deploy and setup period.
Towed Bofors guns are a thing at the time, and there's radar-guidance options for making them actually useful.  As far as rocket artillery, there's options there as well, but it takes only three minutes to stop, deploy, and fire a full truck's load of Grad rockets, and about another two minutes (supposedly) to pack up and go.  Reloading was ten minutes, which still isn't very long all things considered - that's a fifteen minute cycle to deploy, load, fire, and run - and you're not announcing your presence until minute thirteen.
Bit modern for 1975, though, isn't it?  Though, in 1975, you do have the option of the VW Type 181

That's probably your most likely bet for a Western European-produced vehicle without looking to Russia.  For US-produced, you'd be looking at Jeeps, obviously, but given none of the other continental European armies really did that, and went with the Type 181 instead, that seems less likely.

The VW Iltis would also be an option after 1978, of course.
Yeah, I was figuring on "leftover Kubelwagens and Type 181s" for a generic light vehicle, though I'd prefer something four wheel drive.  The DAF 66 military version is just coming out then as well and it's downright adorable.



At least the Iltis is 4WD, which I can say was a demand that was unmet by the existing 181, of which we had plenty of.  Hence the need for Iltises (Iltii?) and the push for their development.  Not quite sure I'd be turning it into a MLRS or anything, but at least sticking spare Bren guns on the thing wouldn't be all that hard.

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #165 on: 01 December 2020, 22:12:37 »
Yeah, I was figuring on "leftover Kubelwagens and Type 181s" for a generic light vehicle, though I'd prefer something four wheel drive.  The DAF 66 military version is just coming out then as well and it's downright adorable.



At least the Iltis is 4WD, which I can say was a demand that was unmet by the existing 181, of which we had plenty of.  Hence the need for Iltises (Iltii?) and the push for their development.  Not quite sure I'd be turning it into a MLRS or anything, but at least sticking spare Bren guns on the thing wouldn't be all that hard.

I had a VW Thing for over 16 years, where half of that time it was my daily driver, and I beat the crap out of that car off-road.  They're lightweight enough compared to larger 4wd vehicles that they tend not to get stuck where the larger ones would bog down.  I never missed 4wd in the time I had mine, even when I drove it through mud deep enough during heavy rains to give the bigger lifted trucks out here pause.

Of course, if you're willing to engage in a bit of "what might have been", VW was only 3 or 4 years away from the testing phase of the synco transaxle, which they tested in a Type 2 bay window Bus first, before it eventually ended up in a T3 Vanagon.  It wouldn't be out of the question for the T2 setup to end up in other vehicles, and there were 4WD versions of the VW aircooled transaxle going back to WW2, though most of those were 4WD in 1st gear only.

Of course, it would also be hilarious to order these as your light vehicles:



That's, notably, a 1972.  And it's not like extended-cab pickup versions didn't also exist. :)

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ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #166 on: 01 December 2020, 22:33:33 »
And I just realized the ATGM carrier Shturm-S doesn't appear until 1979.

I suppose I could have the MT-LB as an infantry support unit instead, lugging along a commander and gunner with a bunch of Milan reloads.  Let it get replaced with a heavier ATGM later, improving on the Milan's performance.

Still debating on AAA, the Gepard doesn't become available until 1976.  There's that Iraqi MTLB with the dual 23mm guns mounted, but I think I'll go back to the M163.  I'll justify it as an attempt to purchase the combination Chaparral vehicle with it but that sale got blocked, so only the gun-armed side of the system exists.  To give a little bit more commonality, I'll use it as a 120mm mortar carrier as well, even if it's a Soviet mortar design, heh heh.

I suppose instead of Type 63 APCs I'll sub in more MT-LBs, so it's got some extra roles and I'm not getting too diversified in vehicles.  I'll just source the T-55s as Type 59s instead so I've still got some Chinese input, and make the Centurions the Israeli version...

...guess this feels about done.  So how about modernizing into 1985 - other than the blindingly obvious (and good) decision to replace the plethora of tanks with Leopard 2s, I'll entertain suggestions for a future force structure.  Assume the same amount of forces, but trying to standardize on something.  Preferably a single heavy armored vehicle, one standardized IFV type to do combat support roles as well, and a rocket artillery system to replace the Grads.  The 152mm artillery's new and suitable enough it can stay.

Try and keep a mixed origin so I'm not too tied to one side or the other - T-80 tanks and Bradleys, for example, or Leopard 1A3 and BMP-2.  Feel free to come up with outside the box options like licensing production of K1 tanks, for example, and justifying the ramping up of local industry to handle production of tanks versus simply buying them from foreign suppliers.
I had a VW Thing for over 16 years, where half of that time it was my daily driver, and I beat the crap out of that car off-road.  They're lightweight enough compared to larger 4wd vehicles that they tend not to get stuck where the larger ones would bog down.  I never missed 4wd in the time I had mine, even when I drove it through mud deep enough during heavy rains to give the bigger lifted trucks out here pause.

Of course, if you're willing to engage in a bit of "what might have been", VW was only 3 or 4 years away from the testing phase of the synco transaxle, which they tested in a Type 2 bay window Bus first, before it eventually ended up in a T3 Vanagon.  It wouldn't be out of the question for the T2 setup to end up in other vehicles, and there were 4WD versions of the VW aircooled transaxle going back to WW2, though most of those were 4WD in 1st gear only.
Well, the Iltis is 4WD, so that scratches that itch...but as you say, the things are pretty light and ground pressure on four tires is a thing.  Maybe it was decided to go to a 4WD to help it haul trailers around, and let the Iltis do better at the carrying of heavier weapons like ATGMs, recoilless rifles, and so on.  Still sold on the 181 as the 1975 standard, don't get me wrong.
Of course, it would also be hilarious to order these as your light vehicles:

That's, notably, a 1972.  And it's not like extended-cab pickup versions didn't also exist. :)
Hilarious indeed, and I like it - it's not like the Dutch army didn't use minivans, at a glance I could do the same as a light truck.  One step up from the 181.  VW has a rep for good and indestructible machines, as your experience shows.

Colt Ward

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #167 on: 02 December 2020, 02:33:34 »
I asked about war experience b/c a lot of nations at least sent small detachments to Korea b/c it was under the UN . . . you could also have observers & trainers around the world in lieu of actually being in combat.

With the Leopard 2s . . . are you really wanting to go cutting edge?

It might be a good time to replace some of the tanks with the M60 Pattons, which still served into Desert Storm.

Getting into defensive doctrine . . . honestly, you should have a crapton of Katyusha trailers spread across the country in reserve depots.  Cheap, low maintenance, and easy to move . . . you use the massed unguided rockets to break forming offensives.  When your recon detects concentrations of troops, you counter by the reinforcements for that sector towing along the nearest rocket trailers and then kicking them off at certain times- IE when would most assaults occur?  Doctrine tends to say at- beginning of nautical day? something like that- so the defenders launch masses of unguided rockets at likely assembly points or you can get a rocket warhead to scatter mines into choke points like fords, bridges, or intersections.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SATM_mine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT2_mine
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kato

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #168 on: 02 December 2020, 03:03:09 »
Hilarious indeed, and I like it - it's not like the Dutch army didn't use minivans, at a glance I could do the same as a light truck.  One step up from the 181.  VW has a rep for good and indestructible machines, as your experience shows.
Why hilarious? The German Army ran tens of thousands of VW T2/T3/T4 vans as their virtually sole light transport vehicle procured starting in ca 1960 until today. And yes, before 4WD and such anemities too. And yes, they went on deployment too, all the way to Afghanistan.

They were used for literally anything - if it didn't need a 2-ton truck and wasn't in a frontline position it went in one of these. You generally had a couple available as general light transports in every company, wartime role was usually with the company troops, platoon troops or similar, in larger numbers in the various units embedded with battalion staff (signals platoon, maintenance squads etc). Overall they were roughly as ubiquitous as Munga/Iltis/Wolf jeeps in the German Army.




ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #169 on: 02 December 2020, 03:56:11 »
I asked about war experience b/c a lot of nations at least sent small detachments to Korea b/c it was under the UN . . . you could also have observers & trainers around the world in lieu of actually being in combat.
That's a point I hadn't considered.  I was originally thinking that things had been peaceful for a while, though I also have good relations with and mutual defense treaties with an overseas nation that's had its own problems.  I've thought about stationing an armored brigade overseas, as a tank-based foreign legion of sorts, and recruiting from the local population for it.  Call it Notmyanmar for lack of anything better.

That would get immediately weird, too; arguably I'd have "observer" forces looking over each others shoulders on both sides of the Iron Curtain.  How did the Finns handle things, in that regard?  I could see them hanging out with the UN, certainly, but they're stuck between east and west too.  I can use them as a model for getting experience and education while managing to stay out of a fighting situation, which I want to do outside of the early-1950s war.

Side note, the early 1950s war is entirely constructed to give a single character a mysterious background she doesn't know, and I just rolled it up into a nasty trenchline conflict to give my nation justification for its large army.  So I haven't heavily detailed it other than the last gasp of trench warfare.  Call it a border skirmish that got out of hand, until we declared war on our southeastern border with Near Peer Power the People's Republic of Elbonia, only with the kinds of defensive fortifications that most times you invade another country to go around.  Play it out like the Iran-Iraq war, where there were occasional penetrations by both sides but an inability to capitalize on the gains involved and an eventual return to pre-war status quo...just with a countryside that's been bombed all to hell.  But mostly it's there to separate a character from her family and justify her choice of going into the military.
With the Leopard 2s . . . are you really wanting to go cutting edge?
Not really, but the Leo 2 is freely exported, mixes armor, mobility, firepower, and price well enough, has plenty of manufacturer support, and is just all-round a good tank.  After 1979 it's hard not to settle with, especially if I'm operating Leo 1s (all of six battalions thereof, but still) prior to it. 
It might be a good time to replace some of the tanks with the M60 Pattons, which still served into Desert Storm.
Well, after the Vietnam war ends, and especially once the Abrams makes its beginning, I could see M60s being offered.  A1 models, rather than the later A3s.  I'd have engine commonality with the Sho'ts, so I could easily phase out the T-55s with the heavy tanks...hm.  How easy would it be to get my hands on M60s earlier than that, say to purchase them instead of the six BNs of Leos?  That'd be in the 1975 timeframe; by 1985 I'd be replacing 468 T-55s with M60s and applying ERA to everything.  This plan feels better to me and makes more sense.

That doesn't mean I'm not open to more ideas or suggestions, just that I like the first one so far.  Feel free to keep throwing spitballs my way.  T-80 with Warrior, perhaps.  Or whatever.
Getting into defensive doctrine . . . honestly, you should have a crapton of Katyusha trailers spread across the country in reserve depots.  Cheap, low maintenance, and easy to move . . . you use the massed unguided rockets to break forming offensives.  When your recon detects concentrations of troops, you counter by the reinforcements for that sector towing along the nearest rocket trailers and then kicking them off at certain times- IE when would most assaults occur?  Doctrine tends to say at- beginning of nautical day? something like that- so the defenders launch masses of unguided rockets at likely assembly points or you can get a rocket warhead to scatter mines into choke points like fords, bridges, or intersections.
You know, I'm frankly surprised the Warsaw Pact didn't have this for extra launchers for BM-21s.  As it is, I have fifteen battalions of the things, five on each theater and five in the central region.  Add in six more battalions of towed 152mm per region, and that's what's available as far as corps artillery.  I suppose I should shuffle that up some, maybe put six and seven battalions respectively on each theater so there's more artillery immediately and using less of it in the national second-echelon.  That'd make that more of a maneuver force, and justify the larger size thereof.

Oh hey there are indeed trailer-mounted Grad systems...

 >:D
Why hilarious? The German Army ran tens of thousands of VW T2/T3/T4 vans as their virtually sole light transport vehicle procured starting in ca 1960 until today. And yes, before 4WD and such anemities too. And yes, they went on deployment too, all the way to Afghanistan.
The Dutch used Kombis too, for the same kind of roles; the hilarity for me came from the vehicle's association in the US - it's practically a meme that they're the living quarters for love-and-peace hippie types or surfers, neither of which has much of a proud military tradition.  The idea of turning what's basically a cute, wee little van into a 4x4 gun carrier recon truck was the silly side of things.
They were used for literally anything - if it didn't need a 2-ton truck and wasn't in a frontline position it went in one of these. You generally had a couple available as general light transports in every company, wartime role was usually with the company troops, platoon troops or similar, in larger numbers in the various units embedded with battalion staff (signals platoon, maintenance squads etc). Overall they were roughly as ubiquitous as Munga/Iltis/Wolf jeeps in the German Army.
Neat.  Alright, why not, as I said VWs have a reputation for indestructible vehicles, and simplicity appeals to me.
« Last Edit: 02 December 2020, 04:00:28 by ANS Kamas P81 »

chanman

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #170 on: 02 December 2020, 04:24:22 »
Not really, but the Leo 2 is freely exported, mixes armor, mobility, firepower, and price well enough, has plenty of manufacturer support, and is just all-round a good tank.  After 1979 it's hard not to settle with, especially if I'm operating Leo 1s (all of six battalions thereof, but still) prior to it. 

I think that's more NATO countries trading conscript armies for volunteer forces and downsizing to fit. A lot of the 'freely exported' Leo 2s are ex-Dutch or ex-German machines.

Austria: 114 ex-Dutch Leo 2A4s
Canada: 80 ex-Dutch Leo 2A4s, 20 ex-Dutch Leo 2A6, 15 ex-German Leo 2A4s (parts hulks), 12 ex-Swiss Leo 2A4s (ARV conversions)
Chile: 132 ex-German Leo 2A4s, negotiations for anotehr 100 ex-German Leo 2A5s
Finland: 139 ex-German Leo 2A4s, 100 ex-Dutch Leo 2A6s
Indonesia: 103 ex-German Leo 2A4, 50 ex-German Marder1A3
Norway: 52 ex-Dutch Leo 2A4s
Poland: 142 Leo 2A4, 105 Leo 2A5 - all ex-German
Portugal: 37 ex-Dutch Leo 2A6
Singapore: 96 ex-German Leo 2A4
Sweden: 160 ex-German Leo 2A4 (leased, some purchased and modified - it's kinda confusing)

So the number of countries that bought brand-new Leo 2s are:
Germany (duh)
Netherlands (duh)
Denmark
Greece
Hungary (44 new Leo 2A7+, 12 used Leo 2A4)
Qatar
Spain: 108 ex-German Leo 2A4, 219 new Leo 2A6
Switzerland: 35 used Leo 2A4 from Germany, 355 locally made
Turkey

Also, I don't know if the T-80U is that great - you'll notice that the real long-runner of the old Soviet MBTs is the T-72 - just don't locally build bad knock-offs like Iraq did. IIRC, the Canadian army (and probably everyone else) did some destructive testing of ex-East German T-72Bs (kind of a mid-range export model) after the fall of the Berlin wall and the results were... sobering. Apparently the frontal armour was quite resistant to the then-issue KE 105mm and 120mm rounds (early to mid-90s, so the kind of ammo they had in stock during the late Cold War).

That's just the steel and composite hull and turret, minus any additional external armour or ERA, so... worth pointing out.

Colt Ward

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #171 on: 02 December 2020, 04:53:00 »
I was not even talking about rocket trailers as being anything as fancy or reload-able as the Grads.  LITERAL Katyusha . . .


Looks like a more recent picture than others, but I was meaning a real trailer (size of pick up bed) with probably a rack half the load of that picture- either single row or half as wide double rows- for stability.  Make them cheap, durable and you can build up a steady stockpile that are assigned as theater assets . . . the light reserve infantry divisions are on their way to the front?  each of the trucks or buses they are loaded in will drive through this depot (aka warehouse), pick up a trailer and continue to the front . . .

Simple systems that can be one shot if the situation requires, or infantry companies not on the frontlines can be tasked to reload for on call salvo fire.  It would be a supplement to your towed & motorized tube and motorized rocket artillery.  Make the propellent long-term stable and you can just produce X a year to create a huge national reserve, the complete system would take up more storage space but if the rack was broken down?  It looks like it could be assembled pretty easy . . . and if your light cargo trucks are built right, they can have brackets built in so that any truck can be turned into the above at need.

A national defense plan that includes katyusha would not make them part of a artillery BN.  Instead they would be a theater asset assigned to attacking or defending formations- likely infantry.  Simple reason . . .

"Alright, our regiment has orders to hold this line for the next 48 hours as the armor for this sector gets re-organized.  Theater command released 20 Katyusha trucks to us with reloads.  I need each battalion to give me a two squads worth of enlisted men pulled from your companies to operate the rocket launchers and reload, we will use some NCOs from HQ battalion to run the launcher teams.  Each battalion will get 5 launchers to call on with another 5 belonging to HQ that you can request- this is going to supplement Theater artillery that will be in our support."

Aiming these things would not be like regular artillery . . . honestly more like crew served weapons with T&E- point in the direction you want, elevate the stand to the right angle (something like a setting for every 50-100 meters further you want to send them) which IMO would make them useful theater level assets to be assigned out as attachments.
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ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #172 on: 02 December 2020, 05:50:05 »
I think that's more NATO countries trading conscript armies for volunteer forces and downsizing to fit. A lot of the 'freely exported' Leo 2s are ex-Dutch or ex-German machines.
Damn Cold War ending on us like that.  More seriously, it's...less than I'd expected.  Still a popular export tank, and still a good overall tank.  But at least it doesn't feel like I'm being a little too foolish by passing it up.
Also, I don't know if the T-80U is that great - you'll notice that the real long-runner of the old Soviet MBTs is the T-72 - just don't locally build bad knock-offs like Iraq did. IIRC, the Canadian army (and probably everyone else) did some destructive testing of ex-East German T-72Bs (kind of a mid-range export model) after the fall of the Berlin wall and the results were... sobering. Apparently the frontal armour was quite resistant to the then-issue KE 105mm and 120mm rounds (early to mid-90s, so the kind of ammo they had in stock during the late Cold War).

That's just the steel and composite hull and turret, minus any additional external armour or ERA, so... worth pointing out.
Yeah, I'm just tossing off the idea.  I remember a lot of the comparisons to the locally built and/or exported T-72s we, and in their time the Iranians, faced in Iraq were not at all made to proper specifications; as it is the T-72 doesn't strike me as as bad as they say.  If the results were that impressive...that's a bit scary.  I feel better about using T-72s as a thing now...

I ran numbers...if I dare to acquire an ungodly number of T-72s, I can mechanize my entire force by the end of 1985.  Three man tanks, so I have lighter personnel counts for my brigades, just enough...for twenty armored brigades and twelve armored infantry brigades.  That's converting all the motorized infantry in the maneuver forces and relying on the duchy security forces for rear-area work (just under 75,000 troops dispersed) to get that number, but I've still increased by two whole brigades for that.  Eleven of those armored and four of those armored infantry brigades would be operating T-72s (26 battalions, 1352 tanks) by 1985, while keeping the makeup of the previous force.

So what would make a good western IFV, minimum passengers acceptable being seven, to go along with the T-72 series?  I'd need 19 battalions of them, so something inexpensive, amphibious, and locally produceable.  AMX-10P?  Warrior?  Marder would be far too heavy IMO, M113s are possible and easily replaced when it's time for CV-90s to trickle down to us.  Hmm, a DEFA turret on an M113, put seven troops on instead of eleven and use the rest of the space for a 30mm ammo chain...maybe, I don't want to get too deep into Whiff territory.

I'm not sold on the idea of the T-72s, mind, but forking over a lot of hard cash to the Russians for them by 1985, I'd definitely do it.  The fact it comes out to nice exact numbers (no really, I'm spot on my target) makes my inner AccountTech nerd happy.
I was not even talking about rocket trailers as being anything as fancy or reload-able as the Grads.  LITERAL Katyusha . . .
Wellll...it's not like there can't be leftovers from the 1950s war where those would have been churned out enmasse, predating the Grads.  Sure, why not.
Looks like a more recent picture than others, but I was meaning a real trailer (size of pick up bed) with probably a rack half the load of that picture- either single row or half as wide double rows- for stability.  Make them cheap, durable and you can build up a steady stockpile that are assigned as theater assets . . . the light reserve infantry divisions are on their way to the front?  each of the trucks or buses they are loaded in will drive through this depot (aka warehouse), pick up a trailer and continue to the front . . .

Simple systems that can be one shot if the situation requires, or infantry companies not on the frontlines can be tasked to reload for on call salvo fire.  It would be a supplement to your towed & motorized tube and motorized rocket artillery.  Make the propellent long-term stable and you can just produce X a year to create a huge national reserve, the complete system would take up more storage space but if the rack was broken down?  It looks like it could be assembled pretty easy . . . and if your light cargo trucks are built right, they can have brackets built in so that any truck can be turned into the above at need.

A national defense plan that includes katyusha would not make them part of a artillery BN.  Instead they would be a theater asset assigned to attacking or defending formations- likely infantry.  Simple reason . . .

"Alright, our regiment has orders to hold this line for the next 48 hours as the armor for this sector gets re-organized.  Theater command released 20 Katyusha trucks to us with reloads.  I need each battalion to give me a two squads worth of enlisted men pulled from your companies to operate the rocket launchers and reload, we will use some NCOs from HQ battalion to run the launcher teams.  Each battalion will get 5 launchers to call on with another 5 belonging to HQ that you can request- this is going to supplement Theater artillery that will be in our support."

Aiming these things would not be like regular artillery . . . honestly more like crew served weapons with T&E- point in the direction you want, elevate the stand to the right angle (something like a setting for every 50-100 meters further you want to send them) which IMO would make them useful theater level assets to be assigned out as attachments.
Well...the hell with it, maybe it's something maintained off the books like stocks of old rifles for massive reserve callup, above and beyond "normal" war footing.  As I said, it'd make sense if they were a wartime expedient in the early 1950s just trying to throw everything at the problem, and...afterward, they kept making them because nobody said to stop.  Glancing at the Wikipedia, there's trailers built for launchers of practically any number; considering the classic Jeep could haul a trailer with 8 launch rails onboard...yeh, I think there's something to your idea.  Keep it light and small so it can fit anything (even a Type 181?) and be expediently reloadable, and...even if it's not accurate and isn't heavy fire, indirect harassment can still disrupt an enemy.  Give heavier tractors larger launchers, perhaps.

How much does the 82mm Katyusha weigh?  I found a 42 kilogram weight for the heavier 130 rocket, but what about the smaller one?
« Last Edit: 02 December 2020, 05:53:31 by ANS Kamas P81 »

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #173 on: 02 December 2020, 07:44:16 »
Further idle thoughts on the T-72.  I see the M export models didn't have the ceramic filler in the turret and hull armor, replacing them with solid steel.  It's still pretty damn thick, but definitely puts a different layer of protection even if it's got the Dolly Parton turret shape.  Even if it's not the advanced stuff, for the late 1970s it's still some useful stuff - effectively 335mm at its weakest, 490 at its strongest.  Not great, but Kontakt-1 upgrades help with that.

So here's* a thought...one armored infantry brigade is overseas with our dear friends in Notmyanmar, and a war heats up there between them and a colonial power in 1975.  The brigade gets its head handed to it, because the Tiran 5Sh upgrade to the T-55 (mostly swapping the gun for an L7) just couldn't cut it in the ATGM-heavy battlefield.  An expected result, after analyzing the Yom Kippur war, but the Ministry of Defense hadn't yet been able to fully put forward a new plan in light of that war.  A new tank, with as much protection as it could get, while being faster and having a superior gun was demanded by the MoD, and parliament finally approved it after seeing what happened to their older, slower tank.

The T-72M...sorta fit the bill, being better armored and faster than the T-55, M60, and Centurion, while being a smaller and harder to hit target.  The gun outmatched the L7, and the autoloader reduced crew requirements to an unexpectedly high level.  The price wasn't atrocious, and with Poland and Czechoslovakia producing them as well as the USSR there was plenty of supply by 1980.  One White Paper later and the hodgepodge army keeps its current hodgepodge supply, while it's given a big boost with Soviet tanks.

*Strategically I need a good reason to lose one brigade of T-55 tanks.  The circumstances should push the military into a radical mechanization that reformats the primary elements of the army.  My end result is adding eleven armored and four armored infantry brigades, while losing one brigade of armored infantry and converting about 48 battalions of infantry to either mechanized infantry or new roles as cavalry.  It's going to be rapid and painful and disorganized in reality, even if it looks nice on paper.  Question is...how can I justify the big push to tank supremacy in the army?  What situation would make the purchase of a giant pile of T-72s something that a military would want after a major action?  (Maybe that T-55 brigade got its head handed to it BY T-72s?)  Bounce your thoughts below.

AmBeth

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #174 on: 02 December 2020, 07:53:34 »
From what I can gather the T-80 was never sold for export, and wasn't really favoured even inside the USSR compared to the T-64 and T-72.

Instead of the T-72 you could go for the M-84 - it's a Yugoslavian version of the T-72 and arguably a better vehicle thanks to a more powerful engine, improved armour and electronics. The further improved M-84A / AB (export version of the A) wasn't available until 1988 though.

For the IFV/APC the Warrior isn't available yet and may be too expensive. I was going to suggest looking at the Argentinian TAM and VCTP - a medium tank, APC and variants (SPG, MLRS, mortar carrier etc) but they're based on the Marder hull, and you've said that is too heavy.
I'd consider the CVR(T) family for your reconnaissance and APC needs. It would give you two recce/light tanks (Scorpion and Scimitar), ATGM carrier (Striker), specialist APC (Spartan) and others (ARV, ambulance, CP etc) all on the same chassis. Add the FV4333 Stormer from 1982 for a larger APC - it is essentially a stretched CRV(T), retaining the same drivetrain and many other common features.

You could also look to Yugoslavia for your rocket needs - they produce the towed M-63 Plamen and the truck mounted M-77 Oganj. They seem to be broadly similar to the Grad, but more modern. Also the M-77 was designed to be able to be disguised as a normal truck thanks to a built in movable canvas system. Later developments would lead to the M-87 Orkan, introduced in 1987.
« Last Edit: 02 December 2020, 08:07:38 by AmBeth »

AmBeth

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #175 on: 02 December 2020, 08:25:46 »
So here's* a thought...one armored infantry brigade is overseas with our dear friends in Notmyanmar, and a war heats up there between them and a colonial power in 1975.  The brigade gets its head handed to it, because the Tiran 5Sh upgrade to the T-55 (mostly swapping the gun for an L7) just couldn't cut it in the ATGM-heavy battlefield.  An expected result, after analyzing the Yom Kippur war, but the Ministry of Defense hadn't yet been able to fully put forward a new plan in light of that war.  A new tank, with as much protection as it could get, while being faster and having a superior gun was demanded by the MoD, and parliament finally approved it after seeing what happened to their older, slower tank.

The T-72M...sorta fit the bill, being better armored and faster than the T-55, M60, and Centurion, while being a smaller and harder to hit target.  The gun outmatched the L7, and the autoloader reduced crew requirements to an unexpectedly high level.  The price wasn't atrocious, and with Poland and Czechoslovakia producing them as well as the USSR there was plenty of supply by 1980.  One White Paper later and the hodgepodge army keeps its current hodgepodge supply, while it's given a big boost with Soviet tanks.

*Strategically I need a good reason to lose one brigade of T-55 tanks.  The circumstances should push the military into a radical mechanization that reformats the primary elements of the army.  My end result is adding eleven armored and four armored infantry brigades, while losing one brigade of armored infantry and converting about 48 battalions of infantry to either mechanized infantry or new roles as cavalry.  It's going to be rapid and painful and disorganized in reality, even if it looks nice on paper.  Question is...how can I justify the big push to tank supremacy in the army?  What situation would make the purchase of a giant pile of T-72s something that a military would want after a major action?  (Maybe that T-55 brigade got its head handed to it BY T-72s?)  Bounce your thoughts below.

The nation has proof of the vulnrability of its T-55's is a start, but it is abroad and can be waved away by certain elements. Follow it up with a defeat of a unit with the Leopard 1's by T-72s - perhaps wargames with a friendly nation, or a small...misunderstanding...with an antagonistic neighbour (visability was bad, our unit didn't realise it's position had crept over the border but your tanks fired first, etc) rams home how effective the Soviet design is.

kato

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #176 on: 02 December 2020, 08:48:44 »
Sweden: 160 ex-German Leo 2A4 (leased, some purchased and modified - it's kinda confusing)
The Swedish 2A4 were leased (the lease has since expired and the tanks shipped back to Germany, where they form the majority of industry spare stock right now). Strv122 were bought later on, those were the "modified" units.

Also, I don't know if the T-80U is that great - you'll notice that the real long-runner of the old Soviet MBTs is the T-72
The reason why the T-80U wasn't all that favored in Russian service is the gas turbine, which is pretty maintenance heavy and has enormous fuel cost.

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #177 on: 02 December 2020, 09:28:13 »
From what I can gather the T-80 was never sold for export, and wasn't really favoured even inside the USSR compared to the T-64 and T-72.
Well, that definitely strikes the T-80, which was just something I named off to name a tank anyway.  Not so hot on the idea of turbine power (pun intended) and much prefer working with diesels.  Like Moran said, "if you understand suck-squeeze-bang-blow you can maintain [the T-55]" and they're at least something I can maintain with my industry base.
Instead of the T-72 you could go for the M-84 - it's a Yugoslavian version of the T-72 and arguably a better vehicle thanks to a more powerful engine, improved armour and electronics. The further improved M-84A / AB (export version of the A) wasn't available until 1988 though.
That's legitimately funny considering the Totally Not setting I've decided on.  Didn't realize they had the full industry for tank production in-house...okay, so while the big order is for imported T-72Ms, at the same time plans are drawn up for the first Amartiyan-produced tank, and it's...the M-84.  Which doesn't come into service until 1985, so it'd just be rolling off the factory floors as of my timeframe.  It's fine, it gives me something to aim the government at. 

Maybe this whole thing is a Hero Project, buying as many tanks as I can get while reverse-engineering the things.  T-72Ms would start arriving in 1980, and while taking in 1352 tanks is a lot, over five years it's...only a rate of 22 a month.  That's easily sustainable, and slow enough that I'd want to find a way to supplement it somehow, or at least not rely on guarantees from the USSR that there won't be any...delays.  Around the same time in 1980, the earliest received ones get stripped down and the parts spread around the country, and factories tool up to start churning up tank parts. 

That factory would only produce about 4 tanks a month, based on the 1984-1999 production run for 650 vehicles.  Compared to 23 a month from the Russians, that means about 1/7 of my tank production from 1985 onward would be locally made M-84s.  I've still got to replace another 1416 tanks (M60s, T-55s, Centurions) by the start of 1985, so by the time the great tank modernization ends in 1990 I'd have 220 tanks, or enough for four battalions.  Just enough for a right bit of panzer elitism in the ranks!
For the IFV/APC the Warrior isn't available yet and may be too expensive. I was going to suggest looking at the Argentinian TAM and VCTP - a medium tank, APC and variants (SPG, MLRS, mortar carrier etc) but they're based on the Marder hull, and you've said that is too heavy.
I was initially thinking Pbv 302s from Sweden as an amphibious, tracked, autocannon-armed IFV.  Amphibious capability is important, even if the tanks have to make their way over bridges I'd like the recon and assorted light vehicles to handle river crossings on their own.  I did look at the TAM and thought about it for a while but it just didn't feel quite right in that regard; it's not bad at all of course.
I'd consider the CVR(T) family for your reconnaissance and APC needs. It would give you two recce/light tanks (Scorpion and Scimitar), ATGM carrier (Striker), specialist APC (Spartan) and others (ARV, ambulance, CP etc) all on the same chassis. Add the FV4333 Stormer from 1982 for a larger APC - it is essentially a stretched CRV(T), retaining the same drivetrain and many other common features.
Ooooh, I knew I was missing something in the British arsenal.  I kept waffling between FV432 and Warrior and completely forgot about these.  Came out in 1970, 3500 vehicles produced, all very nice...and the Stormer is actually large enough to carry a squad of infantry and not just a few unorganized passengers.  I think I'll roll with these for all the specialist roles.  I'll reject the Spartan but take the rest, and use that Swedish IFV for most of my expansion's personnel carriers.  Let's see...three years of production, I could see say...three or four battalions of Stormers being a thing.  That's enough for a few brigades.

So speaking of elitism, there's definitely a hierarchy in this army even if there's some standardization going on.  Brigades are still based around the 2/1 battalions standard, tanks and mechanized infantry in either order with a battalion of 2S3 Akatsiya artillery attached to each.  Add in an engineer, supply, medical, and repair company, and an antitank company for the armored infantry.  (Motorized infantry was just four battalions of infantry with an arty battalion and two light cav companies attached.)  By 1985, here's how the army looks, at least as of right now:

Four armored brigades with T-72Ms and Stormers
Seven armored brigades with T-72Ms and Pbv 302s
Two armored brigades with M60A1s and BMP-1s
Three armored brigades with Tiran 5Shs and BMP-1s
Four armored brigades with Sho't Kal Ds and BMP-1s
Four armored infantry brigades with Pbv 302s and T-72Ms
Two armored infantry brigades with OT-64As and M60A1s
Two armored infantry brigades with OT-64As and Tiran 5Shs
Four armored infantry brigades with MT-LBs and Sho't Kal Ds

In addition, there's twelve recon battalions, eighteen AAA battalions (nine of which are M163 based and nine towed, radar-guided Bofors 40L70s), the aforementioned Corps/Theater artillery and chemical weapons delivery, and the 75,000 security forces, almost all of which are dispersed battalions or sub-units to protect various sites and facilities.

The Swedish 2A4 were leased (the lease has since expired and the tanks shipped back to Germany, where they form the majority of industry spare stock right now). Strv122 were bought later on, those were the "modified" units.
That's a thing that puzzles me.  When you're leasing armored fighting vehicles, you're kind of expecting to wreck the things either from your own troops being dumb or an enemy being not so dumb.  The point is to blow things up, so leasing...seems weirdly dangerous to the lessor in the potential for losing your hardware.  I guess you get national guarantees of "only so much use" as part of the deal?
The reason why the T-80U wasn't all that favored in Russian service is the gas turbine, which is pretty maintenance heavy and has enormous fuel cost.
Yeah, see prior statements on diesels.  It's not like we can't maintain jet engines, I mean...we have jet planes, after all, but there's a push for simplicity and reliability and my nation already ran face first into the "it gets how many yards to the gallon?" problem with Centurions before they got their diesels.  I'll take the T-72, definitely; yes I know this means I'm not a fan of the M1 Abrams powerplant and no I'm not.  The rest of the tank is fine for what it does, don't get me wrong, but I'd be happier without the turbine.
The nation has proof of the vulnrability of its T-55's is a start, but it is abroad and can be waved away by certain elements. Follow it up with a defeat of a unit with the Leopard 1's by T-72s - perhaps wargames with a friendly nation, or a small...misunderstanding...with an antagonistic neighbour (visability was bad, our unit didn't realise it's position had crept over the border but your tanks fired first, etc) rams home how effective the Soviet design is.
I switched the Leo 1s to M60s, but the point still stands - taking a look at how badly T-55s and Centurions were dying in the desert in '73, and a border spat that's caused by an M60 platoon getting lost and getting sniped at long range by the 125mm gun...hell, probably seeing what the 125mm ammunition was doing even to our most heavily protected tanks at ranges it couldn't hit back at would do it.  Maybe there's been a push from the military for full mechanization anyway, and it just took the results from the Yom Kippur war, the loss of one of our own brigades in a different war abroad, and a clear analysis after a border skirmish costs a few tanks unexpectedly that this new T-72 is some hot stuff.

Unrelated to literally everything, is it just my computer or did Google's results page switch to a Futura font when I wasn't looking?  All my Google results URLs are in that font now.

kato

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #178 on: 02 December 2020, 09:45:36 »
That's a thing that puzzles me.  When you're leasing armored fighting vehicles, you're kind of expecting to wreck the things either from your own troops being dumb or an enemy being not so dumb.  The point is to blow things up, so leasing...seems weirdly dangerous to the lessor in the potential for losing your hardware.  I guess you get national guarantees of "only so much use" as part of the deal?
Leasing deals are not uncommon for Leopard 2 since the end of the Cold War. Spain for example also leased 108 Leopard 2A4, later extended the lease and after ten years bought them out of the lease.

ANS Kamas P81

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Re: Creating an army for a fictional nation, revisited
« Reply #179 on: 02 December 2020, 09:55:39 »
Leasing deals are not uncommon for Leopard 2 since the end of the Cold War. Spain for example also leased 108 Leopard 2A4, later extended the lease and after ten years bought them out of the lease.
Just seems odd to me to lease something you expect to get destroyed, but I suppose the insurance rates are low as long as Europe keeps quiet and doesn't get adventurous again.  That seems to be the major state of affairs, at least for the leasing parties.

Also, I'm going to justify the Pbv 302 instead of "more BMPs" as "we need a simple box to haul infantry around in and the T-72 order costs so much the Air Force is going to murder us for stealing their budget, so do something cheap for now and we'll get a proper AFV later once the bluehats are happy."  I do imagine this crash tank buy and factory build is really going to crimp the procurement budget for the entire timeframe, 1980-1990...

Oh hey it's after 1979, I can put Shturm-S ATGM carriers back on the spreadsheet.  Yay for missiles!  I suppose I'll use the MT-LB as the mortar carrier too, instead of the Type 63.  So much to keep track of...sigh. 

Speaking of which, I went with AmBeth's suggestion and fitted out my recon forces.  Each light cavalry battalion has three squadrons, each squadron has three troops, each troop has a do-it-all mindset where you've got one command vehicle, two two-vehicle recon teams (FV-107 Scimitars), a two-vehicle tank team (FV-101 Scorpion 90 with the 90mm gun), a rifle section (carried in a Stormer), and an 82mm mortar (in an MT-LB).  The Scorpion 90 is an interesting version, I'd not expected to find another 90mm gun in such a small package but I'll happily take it and all the ammo I can get.  It replaced the BMP-1's lighter gun pretty nicely, I think, and it's not like the infantry squad doesn't have an MILAN launcher of its own.
« Last Edit: 02 December 2020, 11:20:14 by ANS Kamas P81 »